We hope—even as we doubt—that the environmental crisis can be controlled. Public awareness of our species’ self-destructiveness as material beings in a material world is growing—but so is the destructiveness. The practical interventions needed for saving and restoring the earth will require a collective shift of such magnitude as to take on a spiritual and religious intensity.This transformation has in part already begun. Traditions of ecological theology and ecologically aware religious practice have been preparing the way for decades. (...) Yet these traditions still remain marginal to society, academy, and church. With a fresh, transdisciplinary approach, Ecospirit probes the possibility of a green shift radical enough to permeate the ancient roots of our sensibility and the social sources of our practice. From new language for imagining the earth as a living ground to current constructions of nature in theology, science, and philosophy; from environmentalism’s questioning of postmodern thought to a garden of green doctrines, rituals, and liturgies for contemporary religion, these original essays explore and expand our sense of how to proceed in the face of an ecological crisis that demands new thinking and acting. In the midst of planetary crisis, they activateimagination, humor, ritual, and hope. (shrink)
The current ecological crisis is a matter of urgent global concern, with solutions being sought on many fronts. In this book, Seyyed Hossein Nasr argues that the devastation of our world has been exacerbated, if not actually caused, by the reductionist view of nature that has been advanced by modern secular science. What is needed, he believes, is the recovery of the truth to which the great, enduring religions all attest; namely that nature is sacred. Nasr traces the historical process (...) through which Western civilization moved away from the idea of nature as sacred and embraced a world view which sees humans as alienated from nature and nature itself as a machine to be dominated and manipulated by humans. His goal is to negate the totalitarian claims of modern science and to re-open the way to the religious view of the order of nature, developed over centuries in the cosmologies and sacred sciences of the great traditions. Each tradition, Nasr shows, has a wealth of knowledge and experience concerning the order of nature. The resuscitation of this knowledge, he argues, would allow religions all over the globe to enrich each other and cooperate to heal the wounds inflicted upon the Earth. (shrink)
Where are we? -- How did we get here? -- The millennial vision -- Where do we go? -- Psychic energy -- The North American continent -- Governance -- The university -- The corporation -- Religion -- The historical mission of our time.
The transfer of food among group members is a ubiquitous feature of small-scale forager and forager-agricultural populations. The uniqueness of pervasive sharing among humans, especially among unrelated individuals, has led researchers to evaluate numerous hypotheses about the adaptive functions and patterns of sharing in different ecologies. This article attempts to organize available cross-cultural evidence pertaining to several contentious evolutionary models: kin selection, reciprocal altruism, tolerated scrounging, and costly signaling. Debates about the relevance of these models focus primarily on the extent (...) to which individuals exert control over the distribution of foods they acquire, and the extent to which donors receive food or other fitness-enhancing benefits in return for shares given away. Each model can explain some of the variance in sharing patterns within groups, and so generalizations that ignore or deny the importance of any one model may be misleading. Careful multivariate analyses and cross-cultural comparisons of food transfer patterns are therefore necessary tools for assessing aspects of the sexual division of labor, human life history evolution, and the evolution of the family. This article also introduces a framework for better understanding variation in sharing behavior across small-scale traditional societies. I discuss the importance of resource ecology and the degree of coordination in acquisition activities as a key feature that influences sharing behavior. Key Words: behavioral ecology; cooperation; costly signaling; food sharing; foragers; reciprocal altruism. (shrink)
‘Ecology: religious or secular?’ addresses the issue of the relation between ecology and the idea of God. ‘Social’ interpretations of ecology seem to fit with traditional Christian models, such as stewardship, for grasping the relation between humanity and nature. ‘Deep’ interpretations of ecology, in which nature is understood to encompass humanity, appear, by contrast, less amenable to assimilation by Christianity.The choice – for so it is often presented – between ‘deep’ and ‘social’ forms of (...) class='Hi'>ecology is thus a test case for Christianity. Does the Christian theologian opt for ‘social’ ecology because it best addresses the issue of human embeddedness in nature or because it fits better with prior metaphysical commitments?This article argues that the only way such a dilemma can be addressed theologically is by thinking through at a fundamental level the character of God’s relation to the world. An enquiry in philosophical theology, through the consideration of the concept of divine simplicity, it is argued, suggests that Christianity is not condemned to ‘religious’ readings of ecology. That is, Christianity is not obliged to select evidence based on criteria derived from prior theological commitments .Instead, beginning in the concept of God enables a truly ‘secular’ enquiry which acknowledges a wide range of evidence of our materiality. Indeed, such a ‘secular’ enquiry can only be established by reference to the idea of God. (shrink)
Both in criminal law science and in the judicial practice there are a lot of discussions as to what should be considered as the beginning and end of human life. Birth and death are not instantaneous acts, but rather processes made up of time-spans that can be construed as evidence of the beginning or end of a human life. From a biological point of view the human life is a constant, continuous metabolic process after cessation of which (...) the human life also ceases. These circumstances very much aggravate the definition of criteria of the moments of beginning and end of human life. There are disagreements in the criminal law science with respect to from which moment the human life is to be protected by the criminal law. Herewith this presupposes also the other problematic question—what is to be considered a “living human” as a homicide subject (a victim). Complication of the said question is also determined by the fact that it is related not only to legal but also to medical, religious, and moral aspects. This article exactly analyses certain aspects of the beginning and end of human life in the context of the homicide composition attributes. (shrink)
Up to the present, there have not been any specific norms regarding medically assisted human reproduction in Romanian legislation. Due to this situation the general legislation regarding medical assistance, the Penal and Civil law and the provisions of the Code of Deontology of the Romanian College of Physicians are applied to the field of medically assisted human reproduction. By analysing the ethical and legal conflicts regarding medically assisted human reproduction in Romania, some characteristics cannot be set apart (...) because they derive from religious, cultural and socio-economic aspects. In this article the authors identify the development stages of medically assisted human reproduction in Romania, beginning from these characteristics and insisting upon the failure of the legal system in this specific field. The authors consider that the law regarding medically assisted human reproduction cannot be effective because it did not take into account the ethical and cultural aspects that might appear. Furthermore, in this framework of the legal process, no public debate involving the representatives of civil society was undertaken although the Council of Europe Oviedo Convention approved by our country according to law no. 17/2001 stipulated exactly this working method. Content Type Journal Article Pages 4-13 Authors Beatrice Ioan, PHD, MD, MA IN BIOETHICS, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Iasi, Romania Vasile Astarastoae, PHD, MD, JD, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Iasi, Romania Journal Human Reproduction & Genetic Ethics Online ISSN 2043-0469 Print ISSN 1028-7825 Journal Volume Volume 14 Journal Issue Volume 14, Number 2 / 2008. (shrink)
The current age is characterised by many as secular, and a source of such a characterisation can be found in the Nietzschean claim that thoughts about there being some ultimate reality have to be jettisoned, and human existence and the world need to be embraced as they are. That claim is renewed by some secular thinkers who insist that education has to be reconceived in ways congenial to the new age. It is argued that central to their logic is (...) the dichotomy between the religious and the secular or the otherworldly and the earthly, and that this dichotomy is simplistic as well as problematic. As an alternative to the ‘two worlds’ view, the ‘two aspects’ view is suggested, with an interpretation of reality that the noumenon––the non-human––has to be taken in the negative sense. Against secularising the domain of education, it is indicated that there still remains a place for education to occupy between the two poles of religiousness and secularity. (shrink)
The various schools of the Indian classical philosophy have discussed the issue how we understand the meaning from an utterance. In the present paper, I analyse the ancient controversy on this issue between two schools, Naiyāyikas and Vaiśeṣikas, and attempt to show that it has two aspects of religious and epistemological natures. Vaiśeṣikas, on the ground that the process of the verbal understanding is identical with that of the inference, claim that the verbal understanding is merely a type (...) of the inference. Naiyāyikas oppose this and assert that the former is distinct from the latter. I summarise Vaiśeṣikas’ argument into two points: (1) the similarity of the objects of the cognition and (2) that of the relations between the object and what denotes it. Naiyāyikas rejects both thesimilarities. The above discussion, which may stimulate our epistemological interest, has a close connection with the issue of scriptures. The utterance as a source of knowledge seems to have stood, in the early period, only for the scriptures, as pointed out by Hiryanna. Taking this into consideration, Vaiśeṣikas’ thesis can be understood to imply that they deny the intrinsic authority of scriptures and reduce it to the rational faculty of human beings. Naiyāyikas also deny itsintrinsic authority, but their view on the cognitive process of the verbal understanding is different from that of Vaiśeṣikas. The reason of this divergence may lie in how they treat the reliability of the speaker in respect to the cognitive process. (shrink)
A comprehensive collection of classic texts, contemporary interpretations, guidelines for activists, issue-specific information, and materials for environmentally-oriented religious practice. Sources and contributors include Basho, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Gary Snyder, Chogyam Trungpa, Gretel Ehrlich, Peter Mathiessen, Helen Tworkov (editor of Tricycle ), and Philip Glass.
In _Vibrant Matter_ the political theorist Jane Bennett, renowned for her work on nature, ethics, and affect, shifts her focus from the human experience of things to things themselves. Bennett argues that political theory needs to do a better job of recognizing the active participation of nonhuman forces in events. Toward that end, she theorizes a “vital materiality” that runs through and across bodies, both human and nonhuman. Bennett explores how political analyses of public events might change were (...) we to acknowledge that agency always emerges as the_ _effect of ad hoc configurations of human and nonhuman forces. She suggests that recognizing that agency is distributed this way, and is not solely the province of humans, might spur the cultivation of a more responsible, ecologically sound politics: a politics less devoted to blaming and condemning individuals than to discerning the web of forces affecting situations and events. Bennett examines the political and theoretical implications of vital materialism through extended discussions of commonplace things and physical phenomena including stem cells, fish oils, electricity, metal, and trash. She reflects on the vital power of material formations such as landfills, which generate lively streams of chemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can transform brain chemistry and mood. Along the way, she engages with the concepts and claims of Spinoza, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Darwin, Adorno, and Deleuze, disclosing a long history of thinking about vibrant matter in Western philosophy, including attempts by Kant, Bergson, and the embryologist Hans Driesch to name the “vital force” inherent in material forms. Bennett concludes by sketching the contours of a “green materialist” ecophilosophy. (shrink)
Presents a provocatively anthropocentric analysis of the way forward for green politics and environmental movements, exposing the deficiencies and contradictions of green approaches to post-modern politics and deep ecology. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.
In recent years feminist scholarship has increasingly focused on the importance of the body and its representations in virtually every social, cultural, and intellectual context. Many have argued that because women are more closely identified with their bodies, they have access to privileged and different kinds of knowledge than men. In this landmark new book, Paula Cooey offers a different perspective on the significance of the body in the context of religious life and practice. Building on the pathbreaking work (...) of Elaine Scarry in The Body in Pain, Cooey looks at a wide range of evidence, from the Argentine prison narrative of Alicia Partnoy, to the novels of Toni Morrison and the paintings of Frida Kahlo. Drawing on current social theory and critique, cognitive psychology, contemporary fiction and art, and women's accounts of religious experience, Cooey relates the reality of sentience to the social construction of reality. Beginning with an examination of the female body as a metaphor for alternative knowledge, she considers the significance of physical pain and pleasure to the religious imagination, and the relations between sentience, sensuality, and female subjectivity. Cooey succeeds in bringing forward a sophisticated new understanding of the religious importance of the body, at the same time laying the foundations of a feminist theory of religion. (shrink)
The thinking of those with the power to formulate and implement public policy is now almost totally dominated by the so-called science of economics. While efforts have been made to supplement or modify economics to make it less brutal or less environmentally blind, here it is suggested that economics is so fundamentally flawed and that it so completely dominates the culture of late modern capitalism (or postmodernity) that a new master human science is required to displace it and provide (...) an alternative coordinating framework for research and for defining reality. This could then provide an alternative basis for formulating public policy. It is argued that if humanecology is to fill this role, it will must be developed on consistently anti-reductionist foundations, and that such a social science would totally reorient public policy from a domain for power elites to a domain for genuinely democratic societies to define and control their destinies. -/- . (shrink)
Religion is one of the most powerful forces running through human history, and although often presented as a force for good, its impact is frequently violent and divisive. This provocative work brings together cutting-edge research from both evolutionary and cognitive psychology to help readers understand the psychological structure of religious morality and the origins of religious violence. Introduces a fundamentally new approach to the analysis of religion in a style accessible to the general reader Applies insights from (...) evolutionary and cognitive psychology to both Judaism and Christianity, and their texts, to help understand the origins of religious violence Argues that religious violence is grounded in the moral psychology of religion Illustrates its controversial argument with reference to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the response to the attacks from both the terrorists and the President. Suggests strategies for beginning to counter the divisive aspects of religion Discusses the role of religion and religious criticism in the contemporary world. Argues for a position sceptical of the moral authority of religion, while also critiquing the excesses of the “new atheists” for failing to appreciate the moral contributions of religion Awarded Honourable Mention, 2010 Prose Awards. (shrink)
In today’s European society one can observe different forms of religious fundamentalism, especially when defending various values relating to questions of the meaning of life or when confronted with multi-religious and multicultural situations. An ethical approach attempts to avoid such extremes, given that genuine human behavior is based on moral virtues, the Aristotelian “Golden mean”. At a time when some voices in left-leaning circles are trying to enshrine in the Charter of Human Rights the right of (...) women to terminate their pregnancies, by vehemently advocating their cause in the European Parliament and in the UN Assembly, and to redefine the traditional meaning of “family,” one might want to refer to the understanding of human rights of the Catholic Social Doctrine and other long-received ethical theories. On the other hand, many in the Pro-life movement also exhibit a fundamentalist approach to society, for example when legal bioethical approaches justify murder. In the contemporary setting it is necessary to clarify the relationship firstly between human rights and human dignity from the religious point of view and subsequently between human rights and the rights of a person, understood as a being who is self-aware. The current paper tries to clarify the position of the Roman Catholic Church on the issues of human dignity and human rights with the hope that this understanding will have a positive impact on the development of a just society as a means of preventing the spread of religious fundamentalism. (shrink)
Human behavioral ecology (HBE) began as an attempt to explain human economic, reproductive, and social behavior using neodarwinian theory in concert with theory from ecology and economics, and ethnographic methods. HBE has addressed subsistence decision-making, cooperation, life history trade-offs, parental investment, mate choice, and marriage strategies among hunter-gatherers, herders, peasants, and wage earners in rural and urban settings throughout the world. Despite our rich insights into human behavior, HBE has very rarely been used as a (...) tool to help the people with whom we work. This article introduces a special issue of Human Nature which explores the application of HBE to significant world issues through the design and critique of public policy and international development projects. The articles by Tucker, Shenk, Leonetti et al., and Neil were presented at the 104th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in Washington, D.C., in December 2005, in the first organized session of the nascent Evolutionary Anthropology Section (EAS). We conclude this introduction by summarizing some theoretical challenges to applying HBE, and ways in which evolutionary anthropologists can contribute to solving tough world issues. (shrink)
For my part I seek the metaphilosophical in universalism in the interdisciplinariness concept typical for ecology and system and information theory. I reject monologue as a form of hegemony and propose dialogue as an interpersonal path for seekers and cocreators of truth. I accept relational and reject substantialistic ontologies and all absolutism, including virtues, in an attempt to make room for the quest for common values attainable by those who identify with them on multiple levels (the universalism of Paul (...) of Tarsis). Hence, basing on humanity’s cultural and civilizational multiplicity, I analyze the Europeanism idea through the prism of centripetal and centrifugal forces, locating “Polish” elements on this path. On one hand I approach Europeanism as the most immediate of the environments which reflect and make understandable the spiritual aspects of Polishness, on the other hand I suggest that many of its aspects should be avoided.Nonetheless I commend the disclosure and sustainance of the separateness of ethical norms developed by the ancient Greek from the legal norms instituted by Rome and the religious norms imposed on our western civilization by Christianity. This is something other civilizations lack and what bars them from more intensive participation in humanity’s advancement towards universal civilization—no longer seen as monopolistic, as in the ecological perspective this would only enhance mankind’s destruction. From the Polish perspective the most valuable Europeanism aspects are diversity, methodology in the quest for truth in philosophy, religion and science, openness to the objective products of the human spirit (which Islamic civilization opposed), and a strong accent on praxis.To close I will allow myself reference to Janusz Kuczyński’s Polishness Decalogue, an attempt to analyze the Polish “national spirit” and pinpoint those universal aspects of “Polishness” which—as clusters of empirical, social, theoretical and cultural facts—still fill Polish hearts with pride. Here, as we can see, the initially concretized universality criterion ultimately becomes an applied valuation category. Hence, universalism as a meta-philosophy appears to be a philosophy of essence, not fact, and therefore not subject to valuation. (shrink)
Over the last two decades, scientific accounts of religion have received a great deal of scholarly and popular attention both because of their intrinsic interest and because they are widely as constituting a threat to the religion they analyse. The Believing Primate aims to describe and discuss these scientific accounts as well as to assess their implications. The volume begins with essays by leading scientists in the field, describing these accounts and discussing evidence in their favour. Philosophical and theological reflections (...) on these accounts follow, offered by leading philosophers, theologians, and scientists. This diverse group of scholars address some fascinating underlying questions: Do scientific accounts of religion undermine the justification of religious belief? Do such accounts show religion to be an accidental by-product of our evolutionary development? And, whilst we seem naturally disposed toward religion, would we fare better or worse without it? Bringing together dissenting perspectives, this provocative collection will serve to freshly illuminate ongoing debate on these perennial questions. (shrink)
I start from a relatively simple idea: the human being is constantly making a multiple experience of truth (once again, in reference to Gadamer's statement), both scientifical and technical, as well as religious or aesthetic. Still, what is the relationship between those experiences of truth? Can they express somehow, precisely by their multiplicity, a neutral ethos of today's man, or do they manage to take part in a larger and more elevated experience of truth? In the following paper (...) I will try to bring into focus precisely such issues. I return to the meaning given by Gadamer to the experience of truth. Then I make the distinction between the common sense and the proper sense of alternative. The later concerns the correlation - sometimes paradoxical - of different experiences of truth. For instance, the correlation between the technical and the religious experience. So one can understand that religious experience is above all an experience of human finitude. (shrink)
Dois aspectos básicos orientam a reflexão sobre a Teologia da Libertação: o primeiro aborda o passado e discute seu surgimento e desenvolvimento; o segundo é direcionado ao futuro e aponta desafios. No processo de formação da Teologia da Libertação três questões são analisadas : a libertação, a práxis e os pobres. Em cada uma, destaca-se o aspecto da própria Teologia da Libertação. A libertação surge dentro do contexto econômico e político e é compreendida nos campos da antropologia e da teologia, (...) numa leitura dialética da realidade. A práxis mudou a ênfase doutrinária da teologia, passando a indagar sobre questões levantadas pela fé à prática dos cristãos, à Igreja e às pessoas, e como a teologia reflete sobre essas questões. A compreensão da noção de pobre e da pobreza deixa de estar ligada à carência de bens materiais e passa a ser entendida no contexto da exploração dos seres humanos pelo sistema dominante. As perspectivas futuras da teologia apontam para a ampliação do conceito de libertação para os campos do diálogo inter-religioso, para a questão das mulheres, da etnia e da ecologia. Palavras-chave: Libertação. Práxis. Pobre. Método. Igreja Católica.Two main aspects guide the reflection on liberation theology: one addresses the past and discusses the emergence and development of such theology, and the other points out the future and the possible challenges to be faced. In the process of formation of liberation theology three main issues are analyzed: liberation, praxis, and the poor. On each of these issues, we emphasize the aspect of liberation theology itself. Liberation emerges within the economic and political context and is then understood in the field of anthropology and theology, from a dialectical reading of reality. Praxis shifted the emphasis from doctrinal theology to ask what issues are raised by the faith and practice of Christians, the church and the people, and how theology reflects on such issues. The understanding of the notion of poor and poverty is no longer linked to the lack of goods but comprehended in the context of the exploitation of human beings by dominant system. The future perspectives of theology bind to the broadening of the concept of liberation for the sectors of inter-religious dialogue, the issue of women, ethnic and ecology. Keywords: Liberation. Praxis. Poor. Method. Catholic Church. (shrink)
This book is about the liberation of the concept of life from the bondage fashioned by the interpreters of life ever since biology began, and about the liberation of the life of humans and non-humans alike from the bondage of social structures and behaviour, which now threatens the fullness of life's possibilities if not survival itself. It falls into a tradition of writings about human problems from a perspective informed by biology. It rejects the mechanistic model of life dominant (...) in the Western world and develops an alternative 'ecological model' which is applicable to the life of the cell and the life of the human community. For the first time it brings together in one work the insights of modern biology with those of a modern holistic philosophy and a liberal theology in a way which challenges conventional approaches to science, agriculture, sociology, politics, economics, development and liberation movements. (shrink)
This book is about the extent, origins and causes of the environmental crisis. Dr Northcott argues that Christianity has lost the biblical awareness of the inter-connectedness of all life. He shows how Christian theologians and believers might recover a more ecologically friendly belief system and life style. The author provides an important corrective to secular approaches to environmental ethics, including utilitarian individualism, animal rights theories and deep ecology. He contends that neither the stewardship tradition, nor the panentheist or process (...) ecological theologies have successfully mobilised the Christian tradition. He demonstrates that the Hebrew Bible contains an ecological message which is close to the traditions of many primal and indigenous peoples and which provides an important corrective to instrumental attitudes to nature in much modern philosophy and Christian ethics. (shrink)